Why are new media people leaving pharma

outaherePOST SUMMARY: The exodus of new media pioneers from pharma is leaving a severe talent gap within the industry that can’t be filled only by agency people.  If this trend continues pharma DTC marketing will continue to be left behind as consumer marketing evolves.

On my computer is my Pharmaguy Social Media Pioneer Award, which I value a lot. I value it because it’s more than a recognition, it’s an acknowledgement that I was able to move the needle forward and provide a patient centered solution within digital marketing.  Since then a lot of people have decided that their love of new media and a career in pharma marketing don’t mix.  People like Shwen Gwee and Craig DeLarge have moved on to brighter careers that includes saying goodbye to the pharma culture of “no, we can’t do that” and back to back back meetings to make even very small changes to their digital strategies.  This leaves a huge vacuum of digital marketing talent.


Working within new media is very exciting because we are learning, everyday, of how people are interacting with new media and what’s really effective in driving marketing goals.  While there are some organizations that are still pushing the frontier of new media most pharma companies are stuck in a digital marketing funk. They continue to try and implement even basic digital marketing initiatives such as email programs or they are trying to convince OUS affiliates on the importance of digital marketing.

It can be very frustrating to see what’s possible with new media and not be able to leverage new channels to reach patients who are looking for health information.  Hell, most pharma websites are not even optimized for mobile devices!  What I have found, more and more, is that the talent exodus is indeed hurting the industry.  Talent is being replaced by political savvy career ladder Directors who will do whatever is best for their careers rather than what’s best for patients and it really shows.


The challenge for pharma executives is to recruit more rebels and people who can push the envelope and rely less on the people who say the right things in an interview.  They are out there via the Pharmaguys award list and you would do well to have one of them on your team.